CCTV cameras on B2 now operational


Sharlien Tjambari

The interim phase of the Arandis Emergency Response and Traffic Management Centre (AERTMC) which controls the monitoring devices between Swakopmund and Usakos has kicked-off, the centre is now operational, and the CCTV cameras are working. The centre is located on a 4-hectare piece of land at the entrance of Arandis.

AERTMC will form the backbone of a traffic safety network along the B2 highway be-tween Swakopmund and Usakos. This pro-ject is a government project co-owned by three institutions- the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), the Arandis Town Council (ATC) and Erongo Regional Council (ERC). The three partners have established the Arandis Emergency Response and Traffic Management Centre to introduce the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) technologies.

It facilitates communication between the road user and the control room at AERTMC through the CCTV camera poles using solar power, the variable message signs (VMS), which includes the tactical VMS and the speed VMS on a close circuit television along the route. This high-tech device can weigh vehicles on the move and displays electronic information signs that warns motorists on traffic hazards ahead. The centre will also be the support for first responders to accident scenes and to transport the injured to medical facilities within shorter response time. In two of the VMS sites, automatic number plates recognition cameras with the ability to read number plates and type of vehicle. It also does vehicle counting.
During a media site visit last week, the Chief Executive Officer of Arandis, Stanley Norris said, “when you see this centre know that it is the first of its kind in Namibia and some of the technology is on the level that is even surpassing South African technology. So please understand that it is the first layer of protection to protect for the loss of life incidence and record and control and monitor.”
All the CCTV cameras’ feeds from the road are seen at the centre and information from all the devices on the road are also seen from the control room at the centre, so whatever happens on the road, the operator at the centre picks it up. According to Bazil Calogero, the Operator Manager of the Centre, the operators can post messages on VMS monitors and warn motorists of anything upstream that can be dangerous or that may cause a delay on the way.
The VMS also displays the speed at which a vehicle is travelling and if a driver exceeds the speed limit, the VMS will tell a driver to slow down. Calogero said if there is anything happening on the road, the operators will notify the relevant authorities to go out. They will also monitor the progress of the incidence and if there is a communication line with the people on the site, then they can supply more information. “The benefit of the system is that a traffic officer on the site can only see what is in front of him, with the system, we have a better idea of the whole network, so we can provide that information on the incident”, said Calogero.
According to Calogero, currently the appointment of the system is around the Arandis area, based on hotspots incidents that they have gathered previously. The network is covering from the Arandis Airport turn-off on the B2 highway, and it runs to about 7 kilometres outside of Arandis towards Usakos. “The other poles we are looking at appointing during the next round of equipment. The next round we are looking at will be 10 kilometres outside Arandis towards Usakos and will run up all the way just before Usakos, that is the next phase,” adds Calogero.
Norris said the data that the centre picks up is very important because it determines the behaviour of a driver and stores information of repeat offenders. If you transgress the law, your information will be recorded, and the data will be stored. If you repeat your actions, relevant officials will be notified that you are a problematic driver and actions can be taken against you before lives are lost because of your driving.
The centre currently consists of a boardroom, operation manager’s office, the server room, operations room, two kitchen and toilet units and a storage room. Eugene Tendekule, the Executive Secretary of the National Road Safety Council said when the final centre is constructed and done, it will have a video wall which the police will have access to. Tendekule further said: “The phase we are having now, we are calling it the interim phase because we wanted the project to start functioning so we can collect data which we will then use to motivate the next phase. Ideally we want construction of the big centre to start in the next financial year and should finish in two years’ time”.

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